Did you know that according to research carried out by the social media experts at Socialnomics, a whopping 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, i.e. customer comments and testimonials, whereas only 14% trust the messaging in an advertisement?
With an overwhelming statistic like this, you can understand why so many online marketers are proficient at generating business referrals.
Cultivating and maintaining your online community is all about being engaged with them on an ongoing basis. Ideally, you want people to participate in your forum discussions as well as leave comments on your blog posts, and of course recommend your products and services to other people.
But how exactly do you go about achieving this? The answer lies in the value that you add to your members.
Here’s how you can inspire your online community and create your own tribe of brand catalysts.
Encourage Press Release Sharing
According to the press release experts at PR Web, 80 million persons stay informed by reading news online every single day of the year.
But think about this… Front and center among those 80 million people are the followers within your social media community.
Tip: If you’re not part of the B2B marketplace, get other businesses in your industry involved in your community by encouraging them to share their press releases on your site.
Not only will this improve your brand authority, but it will also add huge value to your existing community members, because they’ll be able to keep up to date with the latest movements in the marketplace without having to look elsewhere.
Create a Classifieds Board
In the same way that Gumtree enables people to post classified ads in their local area, enabling people to promote their services within your industry is a fabulous way to add value to your community.
A classifieds board will encourage people to visit your website regularly to see what promotions and offers are available.
Also consider allowing other businesses to post job vacancies on your site as this can help improve your authority in the marketplace and establish your brand as a market leader.
In turn, this will add enormous value to your own community as your followers will associate themselves as being part of a successful network.
“Hi Linda, have you met John?”
Another great idea is to have a section on your website that functions as a hub for people in your industry to find collaborators with whom to create new projects.
Actively promote new members who join your community and encourage existing members to introduce themselves.
By creating business opportunities within your community, you’ll add significant value and encourage people to increase their presence on your website.
Develop a Forum Thread Specifically for Beginners
Create an online forum on your website. It can very quickly develop into the place where those who are new to the market (and not so new) go for advice on getting started in your industry.
Developing a thread specifically for newcomers will help expand your community and recruit new members. It will also give your more experienced users the opportunity to share their wisdom with others. Your thread may even lead to successful mentorships for your members.
Review Related Products and Services
Chances are that your industry isn’t limited to the types of products and services that your business offers.
One spectacular way to add value to your community is to review related services that your website visitors will find useful.
This will help you establish your business as a trusted brand and will expand your community throughout your own particular niche.
Writing reviews will encourage people from all corners of the marketplace to visit your site for impartial information about the latest products in your industry.
At the end of the day, adding value to your online community will help you attract and retain existing community members. It will also position your business in a unique way and separate you from your competition.
Of course, the big winner in all this, will be you and your brand!